Navy Officer

    If you are wondering how to become a navy officer, below are tips and advice on training for and beginning careers in this area of the armed forces and home security, as well as job prospects in the UK.

    The Job Description
    Royal Navy officers are senior managers in the Royal Navy, working onboard ships and submarines.

    Typical responsibilities:

    warfare officer – controlling weapons and defence systems during peacetime and in combat operations, and assisting the captain on the bridge with navigation and on manoeuvres
    air engineering officer – making sure the ship’s aircraft are ready to fly when required, and working with the aerospace industry on improving aircraft design to meet operational needs
    weapons engineering officer – managing a team of technicians who maintain weapons delivery systems, detection sensors, and communications equipment
    logistics officer – managing the delivery of supplies, equipment and specialist staff for operational tours, and providing advice to the captain on legal, financial and personnel matters
    medical and nursing officers – providing medical care on ships, submarines and ashore.

    Person Specification
    The key personal attributes of good navy officers include:

    the ability to inspire and motivate your team
    resilience and resourcefulness
    self-discipline, confidence and determination
    the ability to assess the strengths and weaknesses of the men and women in your command
    excellent communication skills
    physical fitness, stamina and resilience
    to be prepared to operate in combat situations.

    How to become a Royal Navy officer
    You can enter the Royal Navy as an officer from the age of 17. The upper age limit is usually 26, but there is an higher limit for some roles. You must:

    have a minimum height of 151.5cm
    meet strict eyesight standards
    pass a medical
    meet the Royal Navy nationality and residence requirements.
    To apply for Naval College Entry (NCE) you would need the following (or equivalent) qualifications:

    five GCSEs (A-C), including English Language and Maths
    two A levels.
    If you have a degree you can apply for Direct Graduate Entry.

    You would need specific qualifications for some officer roles, for example to become an engineering officer you would need an accredited engineering degree.

    For some roles, such as those in medical services, the Royal Navy recruits professionally qualified staff.

    You may be able to get financial assistance through sixth-form scholarships, sponsorship or bursaries for degree courses at certain universities.

    To be a chaplain you must be ordained, recommended by your church authorities, and usually have had three or more years’ experience of parish work. You would serve initially for six years.

    For all officer roles you would need to pass the Admiralty Interview Board at HMS Sultan in Hampshire. This is a two-day assessment which includes:

    gym tasks
    discussion exercises
    tests in communication, numeracy, mental agility, spatial orientation and physical fitness.
    You can get free leaflets and full information and advice on Royal Navy officer careers by ringing the Royal Navy Career Enquiries helpline or by visiting your local armed forces careers office. Contact details for these are listed in telephone directories under ‘armed services and reserve forces’ and ‘careers advice/careers guidance services’.

    Training and Development
    You would begin your career as a Royal Navy officer at the Britannia Royal Naval College at Dartmouth in Devon. Your basic training here would last up to 12 months, depending on your area of specialism. It would include:

    leadership and teamworking skills
    commanding and managing junior personnel
    handling boats.
    As part of the training, you would spend seven weeks at sea on a warship.

    You would then do further training in your specialist area. See the careers section of the Royal Navy website for details.

    You may be able to add to your skills, experience and knowledge by moving to a new ship or shore base. Opportunities for this are likely to come up every two to three years.

    The Pay (a rough guide)
    Midshipmen/women and sub lieutenants start at between £15,169 and £21,940 a year, depending on age
    Lieutenants earn from £33,795 and £40,190 a year
    Lieutenant commanders earn from £42,570 to £50,983 a year
    Commanders earn between £59,747 and £66,046 a year.

    Job Prospects
    The Royal Navy recruits around 500 new officers each year. You would join on an Initial Commission for 12 years. You may leave during initial training, after giving 14 days notice. After this, it is usually possible to leave after three to five years, depending on the branch.

    You would be automatically promoted to Lieutenant, provided that you pass the training and perform to an acceptable level. After that, you could progress to Lieutenant-Commander and beyond if you prove your ability to lead and achieve certain career milestones.

    Useful security or armed forces resources:
    Royal Navy
    Careers Enquiries: 0845 607 5555

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